Highlands, warm community spirit, has inspired many events that stand out for more than just their dates on the calendar. These gatherings embody the essence of community, charity, and shared joy. 


Highlands Motoring Festival 

Each year, car enthusiasts gather in Highlands for the Highlands Motoring Festival—a four-day celebration featuring curated driving tours, a Main Street parade, and the "Horsepower Gala." The festival concludes with two car shows in Kelsey-Hutchinson Park, raising funds for local charities. In 2023, the festival raised over $105,000 for organizations like REACH of Macon County, The Literacy & Learning Center, and the Community Care Clinic. Save the date for the 2024 Festival, happening from June 6th to 9th. 


Mountaintop Arts & Craft Show 

The Mountaintop Arts & Craft Show is an annual event held at Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park, bringing together artists from all corners of Western North Carolina. Over two days on different summer weekends, the show features demonstrations, fine art, crafts, and entertainment from 80+ artisans. Sponsored by the Mountaintop Rotary Club, all proceeds support local and international charitable causes. The 2023 event not only showcased artistic brilliance but also featured live music, a clogging contest, and a line dancing competition. Head to Kelsey-Hutchinson Park this summer for family-friendly festivities at the 2024 festival on June 29-30 and August 24-25. 


Highlands Twilight 5k 

The Highlands Twilight 5k is an annual fundraiser benefiting Highlands' youth. Since 2013, the race has donated over $200,000 for initiatives such as a new running track, softball field equipment for Highlands school, support for the Highlands Hurricanes youth swim team, and youth mental health services. Scheduled for August 17, the event offers live music, post-race brews for those over 21, light-up necklaces for kids, and a refreshing evening run- or walk in Highlands. 


Empty Bowls 

Hosted by the International Friendship Center, Empty Bowls is an annual event raising funds for their Food Pantry. Held in the First Presbyterian Church of Highlands, the event features soups donated by local restaurants and caterers. Served in hand-turned bowls crafted by artists from The Bascom, attendees enjoy a simple yet heartwarming culinary experience. The 2023 event included soups from local favorites like The Kitchen of Highlands, Rosewood Market, The Secret Garden, and Los Vaqueros Mexican Restaurant.